The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is a terminal degree designed to prepare students to become leaders in their field by generating new knowledge in a specific topical area of interest. PhD students are trained on how to investigate a current problem through the use of the research process and disseminate with the world. While the traditional career trajectory for a research-intensive PhD program is pursuit of a tenure-track faculty role, one must first consider his or her own passions, interests, and opportunities by knowing oneself and one’s next desired step. In this presentation, Dr. Tiffany Kelley PhD MBA RN, will share her story as an example of how to take the road less traveled and thrive in it. Dr. Kelley will share how she came to enter a PhD program at Duke University. She will briefly describe how important it is to advocate for your research interests and overcome obstacles while doing so. Kelley will also share how she unexpectedly discovered her next purposeful step to start an entrepreneurial venture post-PhD around the concept of knowing the patient. While stepping out of the traditional pathway was seen by some as a risk, Kelley knew that was the right step for her. Since that time, Dr. Kelley has developed a unique entrepreneurial and academic pathway that now includes her role at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing as the DeLuca Foundation Visiting Professor for Innovation and New Knowledge. Kelley will share her perspective on how one can find their own path by focusing on knowing oneself and knowing how best to share your professional knowledge with the world.